Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My foodie alphabet

My food guru is my friend Tina. Seriously, she has an amazing approach to eating--mostly--healthy and she comes up with (or digs up) really fantastic recipes such as Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes. She is the one that finally taught me how to marinate portobello mushrooms and now I eat them all the time. She also introduced me to peanut butter in oatmeal. Oh, and fish tacos. This girl knows what she's doing!

She's been an online buddy of mine for a while (she lives in Georgia, so I haven't met her in person, but that doesn't matter! I still consider her a good friend!) and I ADORE her blog Faith, Fitness, Fun (Go check it out. It's OK... I'll wait.)

So anyway, she did a fun little post the other day and since she's my food inspiration, I thought I'd copy her. Plus, for some reason, I love filling out--and reading--these kinds of things.

Here it is, the food ABCs of me:

A is for Apple: What’s your favorite variety?

Pacific Rose is #1, and it has an amazingly short season. My husband once asked me if these apples were less good-for-you than others because they're so sweet. Seems like barely anyone has heard of them. A very close second is Honeycrisp. They have a slightly longer season, but it's still limited. This time of year, i settle for Gala or pink lady. If you can find them before they get mealy, Ambrosia apples are also awesome.

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?

I'm not a big bread eater, but I LOVE the yeast rolls from Logan's Road House. I could probably just have 10 of them and happily call it my meal.

C is for Cereal: What is your favorite kind currently? (just one!)

I don't eat cereal very often, but I could do a LOT of damage with Koala Crisp. It's like organic brown rice Cocoa Krispies. I do like raisin bran, too.

D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?

Tim Horton's Boston Cream. The ones with the fudgy stuff on top. Yum. I also like a good blueberry donut.

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?

I've been eating 2-egg omelets lately with Swiss cheese and chopped green olives.

F is for Fat Free: What is your favorite fat free product?

Black cherry Chobani yogurt! Pineapple's my fave but it's 2%, not fat free. If we're going naturally fat free, I'm crazy for fruit!

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?

Meijer, with very occasional pit stops to Kroger, Wal-Mart or Whole Foods.

H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?

Coffee, daily, with a splash of whole milk.

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

I love Breyer's natural vanilla (the kind with the bean specks) topped with salted peanuts.

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor?

Any kind my dad makes. I don't buy jam or jelly. Actually, I might if the Jam Pot wasn't something like twelve hours away. It's this amazing little roadside place next to a waterfall in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There's a monastery across the road and the monks pick wild fruits and make jams and baked goods. SIMPLY INCREDIBLE and VERY out-of-the-way. Actually, you can order it via mail. Check it out. The Thimbleberry Jam is to DIE FOR!

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?

I like Kashi GoLean Cruch Honey Almond Flax, but I rarely buy it because one bowl of it will have me hardcore tooting for the rest of the day. What's IN that stuff? I call Kashi "Seven Whole Grains on a Mission to Clear a Room in Two Seconds Flat."

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?

It's 8:42 a.m. so I don't know. I'm thinking the leftover half hamburger and whole grilled portobello from dinner last night and some berries.

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?

Amy's frozen Cheese Enchilada Whole Meal. HOLY GOODNESS! I don't eat frozen meals often but I'll get this as a treat once in a while. It's a cheese enchilada, black beans and corn. It's kinda greasy but sooooooo yummy!

N is for nutrients: Do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?

I think I'm a fat lover. I can go all sorts of crazy on nuts and avocado.

O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?

I use olive oil most, but love cooking in coconut oil (or, um, eating it with a spoon.) I like walnut oil on salads.

P is for protein: How do you get yours?

However. Eggs, nuts and nut butters, legumes, meat, dairy. A good mix.

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?

My favorite is cooking the oats and then adding 2 tablespoons of milled flax, a generous handful of black/blue/rasp/strawberries (whatever I have) and a tablespoon or so of natural peanut butter.

R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?

BRUSSELS SPROUTS!!! But Hubby and the boys don't much care for them so I don't make them often.

S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?

Hmmm... I don't really eat a ton of sandwiches. I do love hamburgers. I think that counts, since it's bread and meat. My favorite 2 fast food sandwiches are the worst for you: McDonald's filet o' fish and Subway's tuna salad. Both really bad for you but tasty. I'll get one once or twice a year, usually on vacation. I recently made a tuna salad (made with hummus), avocado, cucumber and homegrown alfalfa sprout on a Slimwich bun for lunch and it was really super tasty. Extra bonus healthy points too! ;)

T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?

We used to go out to eat when we traveled, but not so much with two little kids. Much of our travel is camping or hiking, so I pack food from home for that. If we're hotelling it, we stick to easy stuff like Subway, grilled chicken from KFC, or a container of chicken fried rice, which everyone will eat. Not super healthy, for sure, but whatever. It's vacation.

U is for unique: What is one of your weirdest food combos?

I'm sure there's something, but I can't think of it right now. I love the taste of green olives and chocolate together, though. I was so excited to find a kalamata olive & white chocolate bar from Vosges. It's pretty yummy!

V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?

Should but don't usually get around to it.

W is for wasabi: Yay or nay?

I LOVE those wasabi-coated dried peas and the Wasabi Soy almonds, but I don't eat regular wasabi. Probably because I don't eat sushi!

X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?

Hard-boiled egg and half a banana from before my workout and coffee with milk from after.

Y is for youth: What food reminds you of your childhood?

Pan-friend perch or bluegill. My dad would go fishing, come home, clean the fish and mom would cook them right up. SO STINKIN' GOOD. I haven't mastered it, so I never have this meal unless I have it at my parents' house. I don't fry. I'm afraid of it, therefore I suck at it.

Z is for zucchini: How do you prepare it?

Ew. One of the few veggies I don't care for. I DO, however, like it in cookies, breads or muffins, so when everyone has zucchinis coming out of their ears in late summer, I'll often whip up a batch of zucchini cookies.

Well, a whole lot of words and no photos. Sorry.

If you copy this and do it on your blog, let me know. I'd love to see your answers!

Monday, May 16, 2011

ecoSTORE USA review

Ever since I did my first ecoSTORE USA review, I've been a fan of their products. Not only are they eco-friendly and made here in good old Michigan, they actually work well!

In fact, if you take a peek in my cleaning cupboards

or in my bathroom closet

you'll see that I buy a lot of the stuff when they run their great "double your order plus free shipping" sale. There are a few things, like the bar soaps, the toilet cleaner and the automatic dishwasher powder, that I don't want to run out of.

So, being a fan, of course I jumped on the opportunity to review a couple products when it was offered to me recently. I was given the improved toilet cleaner and also the glass cleaner to try.

My box arrived just in time. I had made homemade mango salsa and my stove top was a nightmare. I decided I'd really put the glass cleaner to the test.

Pardon the photos. The lighting in my kitchen combined with black granite and stainless steel means I can't take excellent, clear photos. I think you can tell that the stove top is a LOT cleaner after, though.



The glass cleaner smells like plain old vinegar, and I usually use a mix of vinegar and water for glass cleaning. I am not sure this worked any better than the vinegar and water, to be honest, but I can say that without a doubt, the ecoSTORE glass cleaner did the job and did it well. That's more than can be said for all the other glass cleaners out there that I've tried, especially any of those dumb BLUE ones. They all leave awful streaks and smell horrible. I don't even want to THINK about what's in them. I love that I can give the ecoSTORE stuff to my six-year-old when he's doing his chores, and I don't have to worry if he gets it on his hands while he's cleaning.

My bathroom was in pretty sad shape, too, so I was able to use the glass cleaner in there as well as the toilet cleaner.

I'm not sure what was improved about the toilet cleaner, but it's in a bigger bottle and it still works great! LOVE that stuff!

I'll spare you a before photo of the bathroom, but it sure was sparkling clean AFTER!

In a house with me and three men, one of which is a two-year-old Mess Master, we need plenty of glass cleaner and toilet cleaner. I am thrilled to have found an eco-friendly version of each that does its job well.

The next ecoSTORE thing I plan to try out is the baby moisturizer, but not for my babies. For me! I've heard great things about it. Honestly, I'll probably end up trying out everything they offer, since I've been happy with all the items I've used so far.

ecoSTORE USA products can be found at Meijer stores, or online.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Call me Charlotte

There I was last week, hurriedly frosting, gum dropping and sprinklizing dozens of cupcakes to take in for Logan's birthday snack at school.

I am deep in the midst of the Terrible Twos with Jordan. He's been quite challenging lately. Not only crabby and vocal, but making huge messes and causing lots of trouble, too. As I've been dealing with this, I've also been dealing with a nasty sinus thing that leaves my head pounding, my eyes feeling like they're going to bug out of my head, my nose completely stuffed and my throat aching because I've been mouth-breathing. I'm hot stuff these days.

At one point, it all culminated. Jordan got up from a way-too-short nap and screamed. Hard. For about 45 minutes. And Logan was screaming because Jordan was screaming.

I threatened to leave and never come back. Really, I did.

Then I got a little hysterical weepy and shut myself in the laundry room and called my BFF, sobbing, and tried to form words until I calmed down a little.

A few minutes later, I realized something. I was pretty much mirroring the scene in Sex and the City 2, where Charlotte is frosting a zillion cupcakes for her older daughter, Lily, to take to school, as her Terrible Two-year-old daughter, Rose, goes bonkers screaming. Charlotte ducks into the pantry and loses it.

I was Charlotte.

Well, except I didn't have a beautiful, braless Irish nanny swoop in to save the day. I just had to get on with it.

This is what I looked like a little while afterward.

Anyway, I thought I'd do a little post to share just a hint of what the Terrible Twos are looking like in our house.

Tiny Legos everywhere. He pulls off the floor vents and puts them in there. They haven't gone into the toilet or up his nose yet. I hope he doesn't read this and get any ideas.

TP makes a great boa. It does NOT belong on the roll. Nor does tissue belong in the box.

Books do NOT belong ON the shelf.

I don't know exactly how he did this to his shirt. He was totally trapped. Also, the hand in the diaper thing? Constant. Great times when he poops, too, let me tell you!

Hand stuck in water bottle.

Right after I snapped the photo, he worked it free, looked at me and said "Oh no!"

Then he tried to jam BOTH hands in there.

But they wouldn't fit.

So he dumped it all on the counter and floor. I didn't get a shot of that.

So yeah, it's been a bit tricky around here lately. As my mom always says, it's a good thing he's cute.

And he is. So cute.

And he's totally in a Mommy phase, which gets annoying but I sooooo love it when he gives me those precious baby kisses.

So, I guess I'll keep him.